Scott Brown's Loss Could Seal Charlie Baker's Decision on One More Campaign

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Scott Brown’s loss to Elizabeth Warren in the U.S. Senate election is obviously weighing heavily upon Massachusetts Republicans, but on none so heavily, I suppose, as Charlie Baker.
Although he lost a three-way race to incumbent Deval Patrick in 2009, Baker was a strong candidate and an articulate advocate for a different, leaner approach to state government. 
It’s no secret that many in the GOP are urging him to make another gubernatorial run in 2014, believing that, in a two-person face-off with any of the likely Democratic nominees  - a Tim Murray or a Steve Grossman, say – he would have an excellent chance of winning.
That may be true.  However, when Baker looks at what happened to Brown and to another prominent Republican, his former running mate, Richard Tisei, who failed to unseat John Tierney in the Sixth Congressional District, he has to wonder how he would succeed where two talented, likable and energetic peers failed.
Baker looks, I imagine, at the paltry share of Massachusetts voters who are Republicans (just over 11%), the small, low-horsepower band of Republicans in the Massachusetts legislature, the fierce commitment of union members to maintaining the Democratic grip on most elective offices in the state (as evidenced again in the Brown-Warren and Tisei-Tierney fights), the ridiculously high cost of running credibly for statewide office, and the need to be constantly raising money to feed the campaign beast, and wonder:
Why would I get back into that?
Someone I know who’s close to Baker says he’d like to run for governor again because he’s brimming with ideas on how to improve state government, knows he could be a good governor, and would like to obliterate the memory of 2009 with a victory. 
“Charlie is very competitive,” my friend points out.  “He hates to lose, and he’d like very much to win the governorship. But I also think he doesn’t want to lose twice.”
The fundraising demands upon any serious candidate for governor are especially daunting for someone like Baker, who is well off but not wealthy.  He has no personal fortune to sustain his family as he devotes months to campaigning, and to pay a big share of the campaign expenses

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